Changes Aren’t Scary Anymore Because We Have a Plan for Them

First off, I was completely flabbergasted to find out I had been nominated, let alone selected as a finalist for a Plutus Award yesterday. Seeing as how I didn’t nominate myself I can only figure it was one of my readers. I’m completely honored to be represented in such a category, so thank you!

Know what I love about personal finance? That it’s just that, personal.

When I started this blog three years ago (<<<what??!) I knew nothing. I didn’t know anything about emergency funds, our finances were disorganized and I was a huge ball of stress. I didn’t even know personal finance was a ”thing”. My point is that SO much has changed in the last three years and so much will change in the upcoming three years.

Last October I wrote a post titled Can We Pay Off $70,000 in 36 months. I received so much support and encouragement from writing that post and it continues to be a popular post today. To summarize, we needed to be making a minimum payment of $2,064 per month to reach our goal and I’m happy to report, despite some hiccups in the last year we’re on plan. Unless the shit hits the fan in the next eight weeks we will reach milestone #1 of this $70,000 payoff plan.

This particular loan (milestone #1) started in December 2012 at $23,698.70 and today sits at $3,635. I’m hoping come October 27, 2015 it will be $0.00. After this loan was paid off we had plans to pay our vehicle off next and then work on rest of student debt. But we’re not anymore.

Life happens but changes aren’t scary anymore because we have a plan for them.

No, I’m not pregnant but we are planning to add to the family. We’re getting a second car. Which I already wrote about here.

When I did get pregnant with Maria though, I was super excited but also terrified. Terrified because we didn’t have a tight grasp on our financial situation and I really didn’t know how we were going to manage. Instead of letting it kill us we jumped on the learning opportunity and educated ourselves. I inevitably started this blog as a way for me to work through everything unknowing I’d fallen into this niche (which I am so grateful for). I have learned so much from you guys.

We’re in a situation where some would say we can’t afford a second car because we have so much debt still to work on- agreed; Others will say it’s your life manage it as you want- also agreed. This is why personal finance is so great, difference in opinions is what opens conversation. In this particular case we’ve weighed the pros and cons and honestly we just can’t make it work anymore with one car so our overall financial plan will need to adapt to these changes.

I’ve already agreed to work at least two extra days per month at my job in 2016 which should be more than enough to offset the additional car costs and still meet our other financial goals (one day would probably be enough). I’ve been coming around to the realization that other changes will have to be made to our ambitious goal to balance our lives too (selling/buying new house within 2-3 years for instance) and I’m ok with it.

If I’ve learned one life long valuable lesson it’s that you need to have a money monitoring system in place that is adaptable. Changes happen- cars, babies, emergencies, houses, raises and job losses, you need to have a system in place that allows you to realistically adapt your goals for your lifestyle.

I’m not saying we won’t have the remainder of the original $70,000 paid off in 25 months, but I am saying I’m ok if it doesn’t happen because it means we’ve adapted our lives to our needs and we did it with a concrete plan in place and I can sleep soundly at night.

Is Watching TV Killing Your Budget?

I watch very little television and when I do there’s a 87% chance it’s live sports. I just don’t have time but occasionally I’ll find time (and energy) to veg out and watch a few shows. Most of the time it’s something we’ve already DVR’d and I’m just getting caught up, this of course also means fast-forwarding through all the commercials and getting right to the good stuff.

This past weekend I had a little extra time since I was nursing a crazy sore leg (=didn’t move much) so I watching a few shows and I noticed something. I wanted a lot of stuff.

I’m sure its because I avoid most TV (mainly commercials) and malls that I don’t really find myself wanting a lot. Things that I do want are usually pretty reasonable wants like replacing old clothes, occasional travel, things for the kid. I’m practical and don’t look to necessarily upgrade perfectly functioning things. So why is it when I watch my occasional TV show I find myself living an inadequate life? I don’t equate the feelings I experience in watching TV and wanting things with the well-known ”keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, rather a feeling of inadequacy, which in some ways is worse.

My washing machine isn’t good enough, I need that shower curtain…whatever it is, marketing is powerful and even I’m not immune. I hate feeling like this. I know there’s nothing wrong with anything we have. We have so much more than most of the world yet I still feel myself wanting more and quite honestly it’s a yucky feeling.

I think most people would benefit from a TV/advertising and social media detox (for many reasons), I also think most people would notice a change in their budget in doing so. If I avoided all social media/TV I know we would spend less. Continuing to live our lives the way we do without knowing when things like new food trucks are opening, would indefinitely save us money. Though we’re pretty good with our funds even we have weaknesses (like trying new places to eat, often found via Twitter).

TV and advertising has a whole other angle when kids are involved. Maria is starting to recognize things and toys in stores. Usually characters from her favorite Netflix or Disney channel shows and it’s kind of terrifying. Though she’s only three I know ”want lists” are in our near future. It’s fine and natural to want things the challenge as parents being giving her something which she appreciates and understands why it’s not everything. TV is a luxury we enjoy but there are many negatives that can come with it if you allow it.

Does your TV watching (or not watcing) effect your budget?

I’ll Never Need a Double Sink Ensuite

I have a massive soft spot for home-esque shows. I love DIY shows, home buying shows, renovation shows, if it involves a dwelling of any kind I’m pretty much all over it. When I watch some of these home shows though, my blood boils. They refuse to buy a beautiful and perfectly priced house because something as menial as the carpet in the guest bedroom is ugly…that’s a deal breaker?? The biggest thing I simply do not understand is people, couples mostly, who demand a double sink in their mandatory ensuite.

Maybe it was my upbringing. There were three women in the house with one bathroom. One. And we all lived to talk about it. How? It’s really quite a complicated process actually. We would all stagger our bath and shower times to accommodate the other people. My mom would often get ready at the gym after her swim every morning and my sister and I would usually spend 10 seconds (literally) every night to ask when the other had to be out of the house in the morning. Sometimes one of us would shower at night, but most of the time we’d just stagger shower times in the morning.

One bathroom with one sink. Sometimes we’d end up in the bathroom at the same time (gasp!) to brush our teeth. Insanity it was. Two people confined to the same space for two minutes. With one sink I can honestly say the three of us never once had an issue. As we got into teenage (makeup and hair-doing years) nothing changed. We’d have our showers and retreat to our rooms where we somehow managed to complete our morning getting ready tasks sans sink, sans bathroom and with a cheap $5 WalMart mirror.

This concept seems to be a totally foreign concept to most people. I was talking to a patient of mine who happens to be a real estate agent about how we will be selling in the next two to three years and she was curious to know what sort of things we would be looking for. I told her basic necessities like a proper entryway with some storage, closet space, a functioning kitchen, garage or shed storage, all in a safe neighborhood with good schools. She looked confused.

Apparently no one seeks a house without details such as two- car garage, hardwood throughout, and of course, the infamous two sink ensuite.

Don’t get me wrong, since having a kid, I can understand the appeal of having an adult bathroom space that isn’t overrun with bath toys, strawberry shampoo and Elsa bubble bath bottles, but I certainly don’t need it. Ensuite will never be on my ”must have” list. Nor will a double sink vanity (given the choice I’d rather a single, large sink and more counter space anyway). I just don’t get it. Assuming you’re a couple (why would one person need two sinks?) can’t you come together and make it work?

Mike and I leave the house at the same time everyday. I can’t think of a single situation where I wished I had two sinks instead of one. Ever. Are we totally alone on this? If you couldn’t live without your two sink ensuite, enlighten me as to why, please.

Online Shopping: The Good, The Bad, and The In-Between

business-888146_1280Everything looks misty for you then it comes to online shopping? You don’t know yet is it good, bad or something in-between of that? You are probably not the only one. And I can ensure you what you are now going to know everything you need to in order to understand it all. So put your seat belts on, and let’s go into the trip of getting to know the goods and bads of internet shopping right away!

The Good

Couponing. From clothing to food, from toys to car parts, online you can purchase stuff as easily as offline and get it at the same quality or even better. But another great thing about online shopping is thousands of different coupons that are waiting for you. So, as mentioned before, if you are looking to shop for groceries online, you can find a bunch of coupons. If you are looking for clothing – you can easily find it too! Everything online is easy to find. And it is easy to use coupons to reduce the price! Even if you are searching for some cheap car parts, you can get some coupons and get it all less expensive! Need a good example? Here – take a look at some of Advance Auto Parts online coupons from Chameleon John and all discounts it offers. With these, you can save an additional 30% off your entire $50+ order sitewide purchase. So, is it enough good for you?

Time-consuming. Another amazingly good thing about online shopping is time-consuming. I mean, how less time it consumes, actually. You don’t need to dress up, go stand in huge lines and wait for hours to shop. You can get your wished item within a few minutes! Or even faster if you are a real pro in this. It also means that you can shop at whatever part of the day you want. So if you feel more comfortable to shop at midnight – you can definitely do it without any problems. Thus saving time while shopping online is a definitely good thing too.

The Bad

Scams. As everywhere in life, by shopping online you are taking a risk of being a victim of criminals. Since online shopping becomes more and more commonplace for masses, the number of online scams is also increasing. This is why you should always buy from trusted websites only. These trusted websites will take care of any fraud in order to maintain their reputations and also let you avoid robbery and all the bad stuff too. So just be caution of where you are shopping and you will be fine.

Losing touch. Another bad thing about shopping online is that you are taking the risk and buying things without even the ability to touch it. And with some products it is very important to take a better look of what you are purchasing. Otherwise, you will be unsatisfied and might get in trouble while trying to return it. So remember that shopping online doesn’t give you a chance to feel the item you wish for.

The In-Between

Salespeople. If you can‘t stand people trying to make you buy stuff you don‘t want, then shopping online is great for you. You will not have to handle with it at all if you don‘t want to. But if you want some advice, you can contact with people who are responsible for customer care and talk as much as you want! Online salespeople are actually waiting for you to come, rather than trying to make a contact with you first.

Enjoyment. By shopping online, you might lose the enjoyment of dressing up and going out with your friends to shop. But on the other hand, you will be able to feel the rush then you see that delivery guy is coming with your package! So it is also a lot of in-between deciding whether or not shopping online is good. But the best way to solve this problem is not to choose absolutes – shop both online and off to get the best of it all together!

Why is Kids Dance Class as Much as College Tuition?

wpid-20150530_150552.jpgThis summer Maria partook in her first, of what will be many, extracurricular activities. We signed her up for soccer and she loved it. Mike still plays soccer as an adult and though I was never big into team sports growing up, I value their importance. Soccer was a great introduction for both us and her into extracurricular activities. She is starting to understand the commitment of attending her ”games” (though soccer at 3, according to Mike, is more like herding cats than actual games), we as parents got our first feeling of change in our schedule, and it was a fair price especially since we didn’t know how she’d take to it so young.

For $75, she played 10 weeks of soccer. The price also included a team t-shirt and goodies at the end of the season (a little medal, a bag for soccer gear, some stickers and candy treats). We were pretty impressed. With the fall and winter coming, we wanted to sign her up for something else, something we know she will love, dance class.

Maria loves to move. Her favorite thing is to get us to play YouTube videos and she dances along to them. It was a no-brainer that we’d put her in dance classes. That was until I contacted the local dance academy.

At age 3-4 they’re put into an intro to dance class which is more about listening to instructors and being immersed into the dance culture than formal dance instruction. Though this particular school is widely regarded for its competitors in many forms of dance (mostly ballet), I was more than a little shocked to hear the tuition for the year (8 total months) would cost $415 plus 15% taxes and uniform cost. Over $500 to simply introduce her to it. I was also shocked to see if they stick with it and become highly competitive (dancing 10-15 hours per week), I could expect over $1,000 for tuition each semester (3-4 per year) plus competition/recital fees, pictures, costumes, dance shoes etc.

Though I value children doing something they both love and gain physical activity from, I don’t know we’ll ever get to a point where we’re willing to pay over $5,000 a year for something. Again, I don’t know as we’re many years away from that decision but do feel like I could invest $5,000 per child in many other ways- varying extracurricular rather than one single activity, more travel, more post secondary education funding, more funds in general for their needs.

I never want to be that parent who says they can’t do something, especially if it’s a financial reason but I will need them to understand and value what they’re getting for the money spent. It’s not that we wouldn’t spend $5,000 per year on our kids, it’s just that we’d need them to understand that with that sort of cash going towards a single event, there will be concessions in other areas.

In terms of where we’re at now we won’t be enrolling her into a dance class at this school for some time, if ever. We’re looking into public classes through parks and rec as well as a few other things like swimming lessons and other winter/indoor activities. I know it’s cliché, but I do want the world for my kids. I want to be able to provide them with as many opportunities in life as I possibly can, but enrolling her into a sport that has tuition as high as a year at university will limit those abilities.

Were you into, or are your kids into, any expensive extracurricular activities? How do/did you manage?

Top Tips To Save Money On Your Car

steering-wheel-801994_1280There’s no doubt owning a car is expensive and some costs can sneak up, especially when it comes to the depreciation of a vehicle. There are ways to save on your motoring costs, but first of all you need to know what they are.

Back when you were learning to drive the costs were as clear as day: the costs of the lessons, the fees for the driving and theory tests – now reduced thanks to free online resources – and maybe a bit of petrol money here and there.

Now you’re running your car, you can look forward to various different costs, known and unknown, so it’s important to save cash where you can.

The costs can be divided into ‘standing’ charges and ‘running’ costs:

  • Standing charges – costs you incur even if you don’t turn a wheel
  • Running costs – costs incurred by physically using the car

Standing Charges

Finance (where applicable) – if you’re thinking of financing your car purchase through some form of loan, then make sure you shop around for the best deal.

The APR (annual percentage rate) is the rate to compare, but it’s better by far to find out what the TOTAL cost will be over the term including interest payments. This makes it easier to compare what you’d actually pay with different providers.

Insurance – a significant cost, especially if you’re a young driver with little no claims record. The key is to shop around: use comparison sites like this one to conveniently get quotes.

Don’t forget to check prices at renewal time. Insurance companies are notorious for charging more at renewal than they might for new business.

Depreciation – the largest overall expense mainly for newer cars. You’re too late if you already own a car of course, but bear it in mind if purchasing.

Breakdown cover – a worthwhile investment to prevent being stranded, but don’t just rely on household names like the AA and RAC. There are others – and some pay and reclaim outfits are worth considering as you’ll save money compared to the ‘big two’. See here for further details.

Running Costs

Fuel – likely to prove the largest running cost so keep your eye on local full prices. Supermarket fuel is considered to be of decent quality, so if it’s the lowest priced, fill up with it. An advantage with supermarkets is the promotions they sometimes run for fuel in conjunction with their loyalty schemes.

When travelling longer distances, try and avoid motorway services as fuel is more expensive than elsewhere.

Servicing and repairs – check out reputable local garages and pricing. If your car is under warranty, you don’t necessarily have to use the franchised dealership so long as your independent garage can provide work and parts to the manufacturer’s standards.

Shop around for MOT tests – although there is an ‘official’ MOT fee, many centers provide their own prices below it. The trick is to find a garage you can trust and stick with it. Word of mouth recommendations can be crucial for this.

Tires and exhausts – shop around. Some local tire and exhaust centers, including franchised dealers, may be prepared to price match even on Internet quotes. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Taking the Time

Of course, shopping around and conducting ad hoc research to save money takes time, but it’s worth in the long run. Even small savings on your car running costs can soon mount up over a year or so.

How do you save on car costs?

What I’d Rather Have in Place of a Traditional Anniversary Gift

weddingWe live in a society that tell us tangible gifts equals love. Hallmark makes millions every year printing words on paper for us to buy. I rarely buy a card because I want to (though some are too perfect to pass up), most of the time I buy them because I feel my gift is incomplete in some way, which is just wrong. Every year on our anniversary, friends and family call to wish us well and most will ask what we got each other. This year I don’t want anything.

I’ve never been one who likes stuff, so unnecessary gifts just seem silly to me. I get that some people love them and that is fine, it’s just not for me. I’d rather do something with my husband than spend money on gifts. I feel like we’re the minority though. Everyone I know buys gifts for their spouse when their anniversary rolls around and though we have as well in the past, this year we’re not.

Even when we have exchanged gifts in the past they’ve been practical. For our ”cotton” anniversary I received new (and needed) sheets. This week marks our sixth wedding anniversary and according to at least one website, the sixth wedding anniversary is represented by wood. Their suggestion for a gift is gourmet chocolates in wooden boxes with personalized engraved messages. I can think of about 2579214202 other things I’d rather than gourmet chocolates in a wooden box #wasteofmoney

Instead of buying each other gifts, something we’ve opted not to do in the past as well, we’re going to spend time together. Sounds simple but with three busy and intertwined lives, it’s difficult to spend quality time with each other.

When we sat down to chat about how we’d like to spend our quality time together, we joked that in this (extreme) heat, a hotel room with AC and a kid-free trip to Costco was just want we needed. We set aside a little money in our budget for our anniversary but I didn’t really want to blow it all on a hotel room. We both agreed some of our favorite times together are when we go on road trips. I love the conversations we have in the car and always look forward to them. So we’ve decided to use the AC in our car instead of a hotel and go on a day trip somewhere while kiddo enjoys some fun Auntie time.

A day trip saves on lodging and we get to spend time in the car, something I enjoy doing from time-to-time. We’re also planning to go for dinner somewhere but we haven’t nailed that down yet. As much of a planner than I am, I like the idea of not planning every detail and seeing where the roads take us. As long as we’re back for bedtime because the reality is, as we celebrate our sixth year of marriage, we have a three year old who needs bedtime stories and that’s fine with us :)

How do you celebrate anniversaries?

Psssst….Make sure you check me out over at Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses Podcast today!

Social Media Has Changed How I Manage My Money

Social media is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful things in the world. Watching it work in real time continues to amaze me. Just this past weekend we decided we would need to get something out for dinner since we had quite a few errands to run after work on Friday. We didn’t really want to eat in the mall food court but also weren’t feeling fast food or a sit-down joint. We  were stumped. As we were chatting and throwing possibilities out, Mike was playing on Twitter and sees a hashtag for a local food truck rally in the area we would be. Done. It took no more convincing for me. #foodtruckrally was all I needed to see. It was that simple.

A few hours later we were enjoying our delicious meals and talking about how amazing Twitter was for rescuing our ”what’s for dinner” dilemma.

Social media has changed every aspect of my life. It’s changed everything from how I decide where to eat, where I shop, who my Doctor is, my parenting, and how I spend and manage my money.

Can I get it for free?

The first way social media had changed how I manage my money, is in trying to figure out if I can get something for free. Though I wasn’t involved in the transaction, we knew we wanted to get Maria a bike this summer. I simply mention it to my sister and within a week she has a new-to-us toddler bike in her apartment. She simple put something on Facebook and a former coworker replied and said she had a small kids bike she was looking to get rid of before they moved, Total cost- $0.00, she just wanted the bike out of her life. The bike was used by one kid for two summers. Do you think Maria noticed, or cared, that it was used? Nope.

Is it worth my money?

We work hard for our money and value how we spend it. When we’re looking to spend it, on anything from a dinner out to paying for a hotel room on vacation, the first thing we do is check out social media. We read reviews and decide if it’s worth it. Social media presence is so important to us that if you don’t have one we will avoid you like the plague. Though Twitter is my favorite platform, Facebook is more ”user friendly” for a larger audience so I expect an up-to-date Facebook page at the very least.

Will you help me?

Companies who use social media regularly are fully aware of how important it is. When I have a problem the first thing I do is reach out on social media. It was no secret that I was disappointed in some of our kitchen renos five years ago. Some things were left untidy and drove me crazy (missing trim for example). I was working material costs in our budget last year so we could take care of them ourselves. I was annoyed one day looking at it, took a picture, tagged the company in a tweet and was contacted by the company within two hours. Within two weeks of that initial tweet the head contractor was in my kitchen fixing everything that I pointed out. It saved me money in materials and more importantly, my time, all because I reached out to them via Twitter.

Social media makes me trust a company more. Companies appears to be more transparent and honest when they’re willing to spend time engaging with their audience. I think it has something to do with the effort they put into their presence online. Any company that spends that much time wouldn’t want it tarnished publicly, so I, as a consumer, would be more willing to work with them, knowing if it didn’t work out I could, and would, voice my option publicly.

I enjoy that on a personal level platforms like Facebook and Twitter are easy and convenient ways to share good deals, new restaurant reviews and free stuff. If I have a question about a product I will first review it, then do a personal inquiry on social media to deepen my search and decision making. Social media really has changed how I mange every aspect of my money.

How has social media changed your spending habits?

Why I’m Considering Buying Life Insurance

calculator-385506_1280When you’re young and single with no dependents you don’t need term life insurance, right? That’s what I always thought until just recently. After doing some more research though, I’m finally considering buying life insurance on myself for the first time.

Up until now I’ve always had some life insurance through my full-time job and the coverage was pretty cheap because of my employer chipping in to help cover the monthly premium. But now that I quit my job to pursue full-time self-employment, I’m beginning to realize just how much those employer benefits added up.

Working for myself means I have to cover several things that I never had to worry about before. For instance, I now have to find and pay for 100% of my own health insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance. I also have to fully fund my own retirement account, where before I got a pretty handsome employer 401(k) match. Finally, I have to find and pay for my own life insurance if I want to be covered.

Why does a single person with no dependents need life insurance?

There are several reasons why a single person with no dependents might need life insurance. For one thing there are still death and burial costs that need to be paid for no matter if you are young, old, single, married, and no matter if you have kids or not. I want to make sure I have life insurance in place to cover these expenses so my family and friends don’t have to worry about paying for them or being forced to decide what to do instead if they can’t afford it.

Second, there could be massive medical bills that need to be paid when you pass away. You never know what the circumstances will be when you die and you don’t want you family or friends to be worried about how to pay your medical bills when they should instead be grieving for you. Life insurance can help pay these costs too.

Finally, I’m considering getting life insurance at least equal to the amount I’d need to cover the costs I already mentioned plus my outstanding, unsecured debt. I have a mortgage on my house, but the sale of the asset should cover that balance with a little room to spare. However I also have some unsecured debt, including student loans and credit card debt. These balances still have to be paid if you die and life insurance can be used to cover those balances. Again, I wouldn’t want my family to have to worry about paying these bills in the event of my death, so I’m considering getting enough life insurance to cover these balances too.

You never know when it’s your turn to pass, so you need to be prepared with life insurance at all times. I’m sad that I let my employer-sponsored life insurance lapse without another plan in place. That’s why I’m looking at getting my own life insurance policy as soon as possible now that I’m self-employed.

Do you have life insurance?

How Anyone Can Save More than $20,000 Off the Costs of University

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

University is expensive. Though I fully recognize how lucky I am to be in Canada, where we can get incredible post-secondary education at top rated universities for a fraction of the cost that our American cohorts pay, it’s still tens of thousands of dollars at the end of the four year degree.

There are many costs involved in pursuing a post-secondary education. Tuition, books, potential moving costs and living expenses, non-tuition related costs (lab fees, exam fees etc.), the list goes on. As expensive as these essential costs are, most students manage to spend much more on the cost of their ‘’education’’ than required. When you look at where your money is going (saved money, student loans or bank of mom and dad, it doesn’t matter), it may shock you to realize how much is actually wasted at the end of it all. Though these costs don’t seem like much at the time, repeated daily over a four year degree program will have some students spending an additional $20,000 on, arguably, totally unnecessary stuff.

Here’s a look at a few common budget busters that university students fall trap to and how badly they effect things at the end of the day:

Eating on Campus Every Day

This is so easy to do. You’re in bed late, up early, roll out of bed to get to class in a rush. I’ve been there. I’ve also then gone to the ATM on campus (wasting money on bank fees), taken out the $20, got a coffee and bagel then spent another $5-10 at lunch. If you spend $10 per day on campus, for food that you could have brought from home, over a four year degree this amounts to $5,600 ($10/day x 5 days per week x 7 total months of classes/exams x 4 years). For little effort you can prep your food for the day and bring it with you, literally saving you thousands.

Skip Spring Break

Taking a trip every spring break at an average cost of $1,000 will add an extra $4,000 to your bill at the end of the four year degree. Skip the trips, save your money and celebrate when you’re done school and earning money. Even if you have the money already, save it and take a trip at the end of your degree on the interest you earned alone, not even touching your money.

I never went anywhere super lavish for my break but we had a ton of fun. We’d usually rent a cheap local cabin (2-3 nights) and all hang out playing games and having a few drinks for a fraction of the cost of a trip south.

Limit the Socializing

This is a tough one. There are so many opportunities and so much pressure to join in on socializing but it is expensive. I think I was rather conservative in estimating that $200 per month might be spent. I’ve personally spent $200 on a single night so I know this number has the potential to be significantly higher. Nonetheless, at $200 per month over your degree you will have wasted another $5,600. It’s never worth it. Offer to be the DD and drive everyone. As someone who often volunteers as a DD it can be a great time and so much cheaper, if not a money maker when friends offer to pay you! Have fun but don’t waste your money on crap you won’t remember, quite literally the next morning. You wallet and liver will thank you.

Skip the New Books

I insisted on buying brand new books my first year. I had save a few thousand dollars of my own and was going to use it for books. My first semester of my first year was almost $1,000. I was blown away. Needless to say I quickly turned to used books by second semester once I realized I wasn’t missing anything. I’ve also not bought books at all and used the library copy no problem at all. If you insist on buying all brand new books, add at least $5,000 more to your bank account for the four years.

Adding all these costs up comes for over $20,000 (without interest yet too!). Are any of them worth it? Not in my mind. University is an amazing experience. I’m not suggesting you don’t have fun and enjoy yourself but be realistic with a budget. Think hard before you spend your money and look for alternatives before ever settling. Enjoy yourself now but protect your future self as well.

Did you waste money in university? What on?